How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do a Forward Stroke in Canoeing

The Forward Stroke looks like the simplest
stroke you can do in a canoe but, actually it’s a very complicated stroke and there’s
a lot to doing an efficient forward stroke. One of the reasons it’s so important to do
an efficient forward stroke is you do a lot of them in a day of paddling, you know in
a day of paddling you might do I don’t know, 20 or 30 preys or draws but, you might do
hundreds or thousands of forward strokes so doing them well and doing them efficiently
is really important. A couple of principles for the forward stroke, one of the first ones
is you want the paddle shaft as vertical as possible in the plane of the boat. (demonstrates)
So, this would be a horizontal paddle shaft, this would be a more vertical paddle shaft.
The bio-mechanics and mechanics of the boat here kind of collide so, if you get the paddle
about this vertical (demonstrates) that’s about a good compromise between bio-mechanics
and boat mechanics. My top hand is going to be out in front of my face and it’s just going
to be doing small circles in front of my face not dropping way down in between strokes on
the recovery. Another principle is we’re going to use the large muscles of our torso to do
the power. So, what I’m going to do for the power is I’m going to twist my torso wind
up like I’m stretching a rubber band here and then unwind and each stroke is a wind
up and unwind of my torso. Again, with my top hand right above eye level. The next thing
I’m going to do is I’m going to take the stroke out farely quickly, I’m going to take it out
by about my knee, so it is going to be a short stroke (demonstrates) it’s going to come back
only to about right here. The reason for that is that the torso rotation only gives you
about a foot or a foot and half of movement, pass that I have to use my arms and we are
trying to avoid using the smaller muscles of the arms, trying to use the larger muscles
of the back and the torso instead. I do have to use my arm a little bit at the end to just
finish the recovery and get the paddle out of the water. So you will see a little bend
in my lower arm. (demonstrates) but, here is what it looks like going away from the

6 thoughts on “How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do a Forward Stroke in Canoeing

  1. I hear ya, I'm good at launching from shore, when I tried to launch from a pier today, I almost took a swim. Not something you want to do in Ocotober in the Northeast.

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